The Holy Book
The miracle. The message to the Arabs. There was a tablet in heaven with God. God sent the angel Gabriel to bring the words of this tablet to Muhammad. Thus is how the Muslim world describes how they received the Quran.
The Quran means to recite; as in the actual word, unlike the Jewish Torah or the Christian Bible (the Muslim does not trust the Torah or the Bible to be accurate). They say the Quran is pure and completely accurate. Without blemish and beyond that it’s pure poetic prose is beautiful and is used as proof of it’s Divine origin. In fact the Quran challenges the world to write a book similar to the Quran, giving the presumption that it cannot be done and because of this the Quran must be of Divine origin.
How did they get the Quran? One man, Muhammad, recited the words and scribes wrote it down on paper. Not only were Muhammad’s visionary Quranic deliberations written down, but everything he did; his sayings, what he did, how he handled certain situations, was written down and compiled into what is called the Hadith. The Hadith is not Divine, but it is usually genuinely practiced.
Many copies of Muhammad’s words were written down until in 650 AD, Abu Bakr, the 1st Caliph after Muhammad’s death, compiled all of Muhammad’s Divine sayings and compiled them into the Quran. All copies aside of his own was destroyed in 650 AD. I will not postulate upon the intentions of that act, it is not mine to speculate. But I can say that before it was compiled, the Quran was a compilation of papers scattered here and there by the different scribes that had originated around Muhammad.
The completed Quran has 114 Surah’s (or sections) and 6,200 verses. If you were to make a comparison to the Bible you could say that a Surah is like chapters or books without chapters; but you have to be careful comparing the Quran to the Bible, there are many differences where any comparison falls apart. The Surah’s are organized from the largest to the smallest (with the exception of the first Surah). They are not in chronological order (but then, neither is the Bible).
The Quran is in Arabic and Muslims hold to that. They believe that Arabic is the ONLY language that the Quran should be written and read in. Arabic is the language of heaven in Islam and is the only acceptable language in which God will listen to. So that includes prayer.
A large difference between the Bible and the Quran is the respect upon which the Muslim people hold the Quran. It is a sin to touch the Holy book without abolution (being clean). It is held with upmost honor and respect. Now there are many Muslims who do not read Arabic. They still honor the Quran. Indeed most Muslims have not read the Quran, but they honor it. Many to the point of giving their lives. Many Christians have not read the Bible, in the same way, but rarely do you see the devotion to honoring the Bible.
I will not go into the accuracy of the Quran. That would take much deliberation, research, and more credentials than I have at this time. But as far as the beauty of the prose as a proof of the Quran’s Divine origin, here is what I have heard of on the subject. There have been instances in which prose has been written upon which Muslims have been approached, the prose read to, and asked if it was apart of the Quran, in which they had been fooled into agreeing was in the Quran. Not all who was fooled was common folk, but also religious leaders and experts. There is also a book published in 1999 called the True Furqan, which is mirrored of the Quran’s prose and has 77 Surahs. It curtails the Muslim message in favor of a Christian message and was published as the true message of God.
I do not know how much of a sore spot this book is to Islam, but will it be at least conceded that the challenge has been taken up?